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Bowdoin Spring Priorities raises over $1.27 million since March 12 launch

June 7, 2020

Bowdoin Spring Priorities—the College’s fundraising effort to address financial needs that have emerged due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)—has brought in hundreds of donations since its launch on March 12.

The College designated four separate funds within Bowdoin Spring Priorities: the COVID-19 Response Fund, the Class of 2020 Commencement Fund, the Financial Aid Fund and the Greatest Need—the Unrestricted Alumni Fund (Alumni Fund).

“There are four areas of particular need that we will ask you to choose from—direct your money to something that speaks to you,” President Clayton Rose said in a video released by the College.

This fundraising effort will aid the College during a time of economic downturn which has affected its endowment. In an email to students and employees sent on May 15, Rose wrote that the College’s “loss in the 2020-2021 academic year may very well exceed $20 million, or 15 percent of revenue.”

More than 500 people have donated to the funds thus far, and total donations exceed $1.27 million.

The newly established COVID-19 Response Fund will attempt to recover some of the COVID-related costs incurred by the College since students began to move out in mid-March, such as U-Haul boxes that were provided to students. The fund will also subsidize some of the losses the Office of Student Aid will incur after waiving the summer work component of student financial aid, which totals $2.185 million. Since the official launch of Bowdoin Spring Priorities on March 12, the COVID-Response fund has raised $114, 787 of its $500,000 goal.

The Class of 2020 Commencement Fund, the other newly established fund, was created in response to the postponement of the commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 to May 2021. According to the fund’s website, donations will be used to cover extra costs the College will incur in bringing students to campus at a later date.

“We’ve never done this before, but we are guessing that the largest unplanned expense related to the ’20 commencement will involve travel assistance to those who might not be able to afford the trip to Maine,” wrote Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Scott Meiklejohn in an email to the Orient.

The Class of 2020 Commencement fund has raised $41,090 of its $250,000 goal since March 12.

The Alumni Fund and the Financial Aid Fund are longstanding funds that were created prior to the COVID-19 crisis. The Financial Aid Fund continues to uphold the College’s need-blind admission policy.

“This year in particular, given the economic situation we are facing, we will likely see many more families who are going to need aid and the grants they are going to need will be larger,” Rose said in a video released by the College

The Financial Aid Fund webpage states, “With the average Bowdoin grant approaching $50,000 and more than half our students on aid, this remains the College’s highest fundraising priority.”

The Financial Aid Fund has raised $21,772 of its $500,000 goal since March 12.

The Alumni Fund has existed for 150 years and supports various expenses at the College’s discretion. Since March 12, this has raised $1,095496 of its $2,500,000 goal.

Due to COVID-19, the College was unable to host Bowdoin OneDay, the largest annual fundraising event for the Alumni Fund. OneDay was initially postponed in April, but has since been cancelled.

Meiklejohn has heard from alumni asking for ways to help since the College announced its shift to remote learning. Rose reiterated this key source of support.

“As usual, [they’ve]’ve been asking ‘How can I help?’ Thank you, and now is the time for that,” he said in a video posted by the College.


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